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This one is just in time for Valentine's Day ...

I came across "ювелирные изделия" in my Russian textbook ТРОЙКА. I was curious about the etymology of it, so I looked it up in Wiktionary where I discovered that

изделие ∼ (manufactured) article, product, (plural) goods, wares

and

ювелирный ∼ jewelry

This made me wonder why "изделие" was needed at all. Curious, I decided to see what would happen if I looked up "jewelry" on Reverso. Interestingly enough, it gave me this (among several others, but these were the first listed):

enter image description here

with 584 translations for "украшение," 485 for "драгоценность," and 62 for "ювелирные изделия." Now I was even more curious because I wondered why a textbook like ТРОЙКА didn't use a more common word for "jewelry" (assuming Reverso translations were reflective of frequency). So, naturally, I then had to look these three words up with Google's Ngram:

enter image description here

As you can see, the frequencies are reflective of what I found on Reverso.

I also looked up "jewelry" on Wikipedia and noticed that the Russian page for it uses "ювелирное изделие" (singular of "ювелирные изделия").

I didn't stop there, though. I also went to Google Trends and the results were reflective of both Reverso and Google's Ngram:

enter image description here

but, interestingly enough, there seems to be more frequency of "ювелирные изделия" in Kostroma Oblast than in other locations. And, until I came across this page, I did not know that Kostroma Oblast was considered the Russian capital of jewelry.

I also did a Google image search of these three terms, but, for the most part, images that were returned were fairly similar although "драгоценность" looked as if it returned more stand alone gems than the other two, which makes sense since this word is derived from "драгоценный" which means "precious" (as in "precious gem," I presume).

Wiktionary also lists

decoration, ornament, ornamentation

for "украшение," so I guess I've kind of answered my own question ... finally, but still it would be nice to get input on this from a Russian native or two. Even so, I sometimes get an answer something along the lines of "they are all completely interchangeable," which I often find isn't all that true. So, to help veer answers away from that, if these are interchangeable, can I use any of them in the following collocations:

jewelry store/shop
piece of jewelry
to wear jewelry
costume jewelry
cheap jewelry
jewelry box
fine jewelry
handmade jewelry

?

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  • 1
    Could you summarize your question(s)? Jan 30 at 10:15
  • 1
    Kostroma hosts a jewelry factory which may explain why it is an outlier on n-gram.
    – alamar
    Jan 31 at 8:18
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    One important thing that would help here is that in English "jewelry" is both an adjective and a noun, while in Russian "ювелирный" is an adjective only. Corresponding noun "ювелирика" is a rare word which is not used in colloquial speech.
    – Alexander
    Jan 31 at 18:25

5 Answers 5

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it would be nice to get input on this from a Russian native or two.

"Украшение" is quite a generic term. It is something that embellishes, decorates or otherwise improves the look of people, buildings or other things (see footnote 1). Just to give you an idea of the range of its meanings: all those things you put on a Christmas tree are "ёлочные украшения", a tattoo can also be called an "украшение" though this example is quite extreme. In the context of personal wearable things, an example of an "украшение" is a feather in the hat. A string of plastic beads or an intricate embroidery are also "украшение". None of them are necessarily jewelry nor expensive.

"Ювелирное украшение" is a more narrow term than "украшение". It means "украшение" made by a jeweler or made of precious metals and gems — gold chains, diamond rings, earrings, and gem brooches. This is a formal term fit for a magazine article. In colloquial speech, you'd most likely call all those things simply "украшения", without going into they fine details of whether or not they're "ювелирные".

"Ювелирное изделие" is a more generic term for all things produced by jewelers. It doesn't only include "ювелирное украшение", but also other things made by jewelers that can't be considered "украшение". For example, ornate table silverware or Fabergé eggs. This term is also quite formal. You would hardly want to use it in colloquial speech.

"Драгоценность" is what pirates are after. Valuable jewelry counts as "драгоценность" of course, but not every "драгоценность" is jewelry. A monarch's crown and crown jewels, a sword with a hilt inlaid with gems, antique table silver, gold bars and ancient gold coins - all of them are "драгоценность". Although some of those things are visually beautiful, they can't be called "украшение" because their main purpose is not to embellish their owner. For example, a crown is a symbol of power; calling it an "украшение" could be perceived as disrespectful at the very least.


  1. I know this definition is not quite precise: cosmetics don't count as "украшение" even though they do embellish a person.
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  • Lots of good answers here, but in the end it came down to yours and il--ya's. Yours was chosen because although il--ya answered all of my collocation questions, your post was easier to read for a beginning student of Russian. (Italicized Cyrillic is really hard to read for a beginner.) I also liked the use of bolding and quotation marks. Your examples were also very good. Overall, I now have a better understanding of all of these terms. On top of that, you have fewer rep points than il--ya and I like to spread the wealth whenever I can. Well done. I look forward to more of your contributions!
    – Lisa Beck
    Feb 7 at 1:46
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    @LisaBeck thanks for your feedback. I didn't realize that italicized Cyrillic might be an issue, I will bear that in mind next time!
    – il--ya
    Feb 8 at 16:07
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Ювелирное изделие is a formal term and it's most suitable in more formal contexts, when talking about manufacturing, selling, customs, accounting etc. It would be clumsy to say на ней были надеты ювелирные изделия.

Ювелирный is an adjective which means "related to the jewelry trade". And изделие means manufactured article, as you have already found out. Most commonly, it's some kind of adornment (украшение), but it could also be some utilitarian item like a comb, or a decorative item like a Fabergé egg. Here's a formal definition from Gokhran guidance (РД 117-3-002-95):

Изделие ювелирное (D. Schmuckwaren, E. Jewellery, F. Bijoux) — изделие, изготовленное из сплавов драгоценных металлов, с использованием различных видов художественной обработки, со вставками из драгоценных, полудрагоценных, поделочных цветных камней и других материалов природного или искусственного происхождения или без них, применяемое в качестве различных украшений, различных утилитарных предметов быта и/или декоративных целей.

As you can see from this definition, it's always something made of precious metal.

You can also say ювелирное украшение to be more specific. That still sounds a bit formal.

Драгоценность literally means "precious item", and depending on the context, it can be used to refer to ювелирное изделие or ювелирное украшение informally, but it can also mean a jewel, or some other highly valuable item, or be used figuratively.

You may also come across the colloquial collective noun ювелирка, which means ювелирные изделия.

  • jewelry store/shop — ювелирный магазин/мастерская
  • piece of jewelry — украшение
  • to wear jewelry — носить (драгоценные) украшения
  • costume jewelry — бижутерия
  • cheap jewelry — same as above, or дешёвые побрякушки (very dismissive)
  • jewelry box — шкатулка для украшений
  • fine jewelry — драгоценности, ювелирные украшения
  • handmade jewelry — украшения ручной работы
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    I struggled a bit with "to wear jewelry". Literal translation is "носить украшения" but something like "she was wearing jewelry" would be best translated using passive на ней были надеты украшения.
    – il--ya
    Jan 31 at 20:32
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Украшением - может быть вообще всё, что украшает, делает красивым. Это не обязательно "золото-бриллианты"(юмористическая цитата-идиома), а,например, перо или ум или барельеф на стене или жабо на кофте, или цветы на столе, или что угодно.

"Ювелирные изделия" - термин официозный. Для экономических обзоров, например, или материального учёта. "Я дарю тебе, подруга, ювелирное изделие" звучит малость странноватенько. Хотя смотря - что именно вы хотите выразить и с какой моральной интонацией :>

"Драгоценностями", собственно, тоже может быть всё, что драгоценно (очень ценно) для кого-либо - считать это переносным смыслом или нет, вопрос туманный. Хотя чаще, конечно, используют как "ювелирные изделия".

" "драгоценный" which means "precious" (as in "precious gem," I presume)." - нет, тут вы не совсем правильно думаете.

*"ДРАГОЦЕ́ННЫЙ, -ая, -ое; -нен, -нна.

  1. Очень ценный, самого высокого качества. Д. камень (высокоценный и красивый минерал, используемый для украшений). Д. ларец (очень высокой цены).
  2. Очень важный, нужный. Терять драгоценное время. Драгоценные сведения. полн. ф. Милый, дорогой. Мой драгоценный друг!"*

Драгоценный, словарь Ожегова

Нет, в ювелирном именно смысле - "драгоценности" и "ювелирные изделия" синонимичны. Второе более формально.

Встречается и "ювелирные украшения".

Также у "ювелирный" есть переносный смысл "очень точный, очень сложный,заковыристый,скрупулезный". "Ювелирная работа нейрохирурга"


"can I use any of them in the following collocations :" - можете, но в зависимости от вышеуказанных коннотаций.

costume jewelry - Бижутерия."Драгоценности" не подходит, разве что в переносном смысле, да и то может звучать иронично."Ювелирные изделия"... - ну, в зависимости от качества и сложности работы, художественной ценности.

"jewelry box" - шкатулка для драгоценностей, но не "драгоценная шкатулка", последнее скорее будет о самой шкатулке,если она украшена бриллиантами и т.п. - или просто чем-то(всё равно чем, может - содержимым любым, или воспоминаниями :>) - ценна.

jewelry store/shop - ювелирный магазин. Не магазин украшений (хотя в просторечии может встретится и такое), и не драгоценный магазин. Можно "магазин драгоценностей", но лучше - ювелирный магазин. :>

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I'll also add to the previous answer that ювелирное издение is always a manufactured product, while драгоценность may mean a raw gem or a raw noble metal.

Also, unlike in English, ювелирное изделие always means something made of precious metals (gold, silver, platinum) or precious gemstones (diamond, ruby, sapphire...). The same with драгоценность. The word for jewelry made of semi-precious gemstones like tiger's eye or amber or another material like wood or glass is бижутерия. The word украшение covers both and much more.

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  • In English, "Jewelry" is a synonym with "fine jewelry", not "costume jewelry". It is a misnomer (or deception) to use non-qualified word "jewelry" when talking about non-precious adornments.
    – Alexander
    Jan 31 at 18:20
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    Thanks for a clarification, I got the wrong impression from "wooden jewelry" and similar. Then my point is: in Russian you don't add "wooden" or "glass" to "ювелирный", just to "украшения". Feb 2 at 9:58
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Sorry to say it, but your Google research was something of a wild goose chase. In particular, Kostroma doesn't hold a very prominent monopoly when it comes to jewelry. The words have — and have always had — pretty different meanings. Which, as is often the case, may partially overlap.

You've already answered about украшение being a "decoration, ornament, ornamentation". Pretty wide meaning, it also includes the meaning of you decorating yourself with something you put on, but it isn't limited to this by a long shot. It also doesn't necessarily mean "expensive" or "jewelry". If you need to be specific about jewelry decorations, you may use "ювелирные украшения".

"драгоценность" first and foremost means "precious". More often, but not necessarily, it's also associated with "expensive". It isn't limited to jewelry either - even though, yes, it is often associated with it.

"Ювелирные изделия" is a very formal term for "jewelry products". There's also another term, "ювелирика." However, depending on the context, it may refer to the products, the very process of making them, or the industry.

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